A lot of study and research has been done in this respect, and the findings are very surprising. It has been found that in the course of every twenty-four hours our body temperature goes down for two hours, and it usually happens in the latter part of the night. You might have noticed that nearabout four in the morning you usually feel cold. This cold is caused by the fall in your body temperature, and not by any change in the weather. And this period of the fall in temperature is different for everybody. For me it might occur between three and five and for another between five and seven. And it is in these two hours of low body temperature that one goes into deep sleep each day.
Over the last five years ten thousand people in America were put under observation while they were sleeping, and it was confirmed that this time of deep sleep is different for everybody. So your time of going to bed and leaving it cannot be determined in a collective way. It has to be left to each individual to find out from personal observation what time is most suitable for him to rest and sleep. And the criterion is that a good night’s sleep should keep you fresh and energetic for the whole of the following day.
Even the duration of one’s sleep has to be determined individually. For someone, five hours sleep can be sufficient, while another person might need seven hours sleep each day. And there are a few people who do with just three hours sleep and it goes well with them. But this person who completes his sleep in three hours can prove to be dangerous for others. He will think himself a pious person and call all those who sleep long hours idlers and good-for-nothings. He will sermonize that three o’clock is the best time to get out of bed, and say that those who don’t conform to this rule will go to hell. Beware of such people.
There can be no hard and fast rule for things like this. We cannot have set laws about what to wear, about what to eat and how much to eat, about when to sleep and how long to sleep. We can discuss these things in a general manner, but It would not be proper to set rules about them. Everyone should find his own discipline, his own way of living; it should be entirely an individual decision. And this much freedom you must have, that you decide your own way of living. Others don’t do it, but a sannyasin should. He should insist on this freedom to be the way he is, and to live in the way that is joyful and blissful for him. In this respect he has also to bear in mind that he does not live in a way that impinges on the freedom and happiness of others. And this is enough.
I repeat that we can broadly discuss the question of a daily routine and a discipline for a sannyasin, but we cannot lay down strict rules about them.
There is a person who is addicted to smoking. The whole world is against him, and yet he goes on smoking. Physicians tell him that smoking will ruin his health, and he says he knows it, yet he cannot quit. What is the matter with this person? Is it that he lacks something necessary for him and smoking provides it? An investigation on smoking done recently in Mexico came to a very strange finding. It says that people who are mad about smoking are those whose bodies lack nicotine. These people are seeking nicotine through tobacco, tea and coffee. But smoking is being condemned as something immoral. But what is immoral in taking some smoke in and out? It is of course senseless, but it is never immoral. He is not harming anyone except himself. It is an innocent stupidity and nothing more. Maybe it is his need; maybe he lacks something which he is fulfilling through smoking. He would be better to discover and know his problem.